Facebook appoints Amazon exec to head WhatsApp payments in India

payments India WhatsApp
FILE PHOTO: The WhatsApp messaging application is seen on a phone screen August 3, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Facebook Inc-owned WhatsApp messenger said on Monday it was appointing a former Amazon executive as the head of payments in India as it looks to scale the service in its biggest market by users.

Manesh Mahatme, officially director WhatsApp payments – India, will help improve users’ payments experience and grow the business, WhatsApp said in a statement, confirming our newsbreak in March.

Mahatme was previously a senior executive at Amazon where he led the product and engineering teams for U.S. online retailer’s payments business, Amazon Pay, in India. He also worked earlier with Citigroup and Indian mobile carrier Bharti Airtel.

WhatsApp, which has more than 500 million Indian users, last year received a much-delayed approval for the launch of its payments system in the country, but so far its rollout has been capped by regulators at 20 million users.

But it has big ambitions and a deal by Facebook last year to invest $5.7 billion in billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms digital unit will allow WhatsApp to offer payments services to millions of mom-and-pop stores.

WhatsApp also has plans to expand its partnership with banks in a bid to offer financial services such as pensions and insurance, its India head Abhijit Bose – also a payments industry veteran – said last year.

(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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